The Norwegian Twin Registry from a public health perspective: a research update

Twin Res Hum Genet. 2013 Feb;16(1):285-95. doi: 10.1017/thg.2012.117. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


We describe the importance of the Norwegian Twin Registry (NTR) for research in public health and provide examples from several programs of twin research at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), including the Nordic Twin Study of Cancer, our epigenetics platform, and our large program of research in mental health. The NTR has become an integral component of a national strategy for maximizing the research potential from Norwegian registries and biobank-based studies. The information provided herein builds upon and complements our recent report describing the establishment of the NTR and the cohorts comprising it. Although Norway has a long tradition in twin research, the centralization and administration of the twin data through a single register structure is fairly recent. The NTR was established in 2009 and currently includes 47,989 twins covering birth years 1895-1960 and 1967-1979; 31,440 of these twins have consented to participate in medical research (comprising 5,439 monozygotic pairs, 6,702 dizygotic same-sexed pairs, and 1,655 dizygotic opposite-sexed pairs). DNA from approximately 4,800 twins is banked at the NIPH biobank and new studies continuously add new data to the registry. The value of NTR data is greatly enhanced through record linkage possibilities offered by Norway's many nation-wide registries (medical, demographic, and socio-economic) and several studies are already taking advantage of these linkage opportunities for research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Patient Selection
  • Public Health*
  • Registries*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*